Friday, April 16, 2010

My Search for a Nanny (A Perfect One!) - Part I

I spent 9 months home with my son after he was born. I landed a role as a stay-at-home Mom (though not by choice) and I kind of liked it. It certainly was hard work and I filled every minute cleaning something or someone. Unlike a job outside of the house, there was no end time where you pack up at 5pm. My work clock ended somewhere around midnight. However, there was something appealing about being able to take my son to music and art classes at noon on a weekday and visit 3 different grocery stores to find the right ingredients for a gourmet meal. So when an opportunity to re-join the workforce came my way, I didn't exactly jump at it. For one thing, it meant I wouldn't be able to spend every moment of the day with my son. Uh, hold on, that's a big deal, a Major deal.

Well, the opportunity was a really good one and in several ways - money, commute, project type, company reputation - not in that order. Ok, ok I needed someone to kick me in the rear anyway to get me back into the world of suits and heels and my husband thought it was a VERY good idea that I get back to work. I caved. I negotiated a 6 week delay in my start date in order to find childcare. The company obliged. I knew immediately that I wanted to find someone who could come to our house and watch our son - a nanny. My husband is home during the day so we only needed someone for about 15 hours over 3 days per week when we both wouldn't be home. The search began...

I did everything a careful mother would do in trying to find the perfect nanny, someone who was a "good fit." I've done a lot of recruiting in the corporate world, so I thought I would attack this in similar fashion. I read books, called local resources, researched internet articles, talked to other moms, etc. I drafted a list of the qualities I wanted this person to have and from there I created my job posting. Besides having the right kind of experience, she or he had to be energetic, loving, sing a lot of songs, make silly faces, get down on the floor and play, willing to do whatever it takes to make my son smile. It was also very important that this person be a communicator and share with me the details of each day and in both a verbal as well as a modern format - Text, MMS, Email. I anticipated how nice it would be to get random text messages about what my son was doing or a picture of him asleep. Every time I pictured this person, I thought "young." They've got to be young so that they can keep up with him. They've got to be someone I would like as a friend so that I could communicate well with them. They've got to be somebody like me. Weren't they a Mommy stand-in?

So after sorting through a myriad of resumes, holding tons of interviews, and calling reference after reference, we found her! She was a very young 20-something, but her experience was superb and her references were stellar. Heck, I'm 30-something and she had way more experience than I did. She still had relationships with some of the kids she nannied for (some even long distance)! Now, I could return to work and find comfort in knowing that my son was going to be well taken care of. Can't you just tell that this isn't going to end well? Yeah, it didn't.

On the first day, I came home to a very happy baby. The Nanny had outlined for me on a notepad I bought her what had taken place at various times of the day. On the second day, he was still very happy and that made me, well, very happy too. On the third day, oh that's when the trouble began. On the third day, she texted me to say that she was sick and wasn't going to be able to watch the baby. A few days later, she called to say that she had been diagnosed with mononucleosis and it could take up to a few months to recover. After, I ran to the computer and googled the heck out of 'baby exposure to mono' and found out the chances of a young child catching it were slim to none (exhale), I realized that I had no childcare and I had a job to go to the next morning. NO CHILDCARE PEOPLE!

I was heartbroken. I had invested so much. This is the one area in my life that I really needed to go well right now. Where did I go wrong? I know that catching mono wasn't anyone's fault (if you believe her story) but this sucked! I would have to find someone new and fast. I suppose there were a few people that made my top 5 list that I could call back, but I already knew they didn't make the cut for a reason. Settling was not an option.

Then, I came across an article online about the pros and cons of nannies by age group. While settling wasn't an option, what was an option was changing my perspective of what and who this nanny should be. Maybe, the nanny didn't need to be "young." Maybe "young" sometimes also means unreliable since most are still going to school and this was not their long-term career goal. I quickly eliminated the "young" filter and my list of qualified candidates got quite a bit longer.

Now, this was going to be interesting...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

He Did What?!?

My husband sent this photo to me yesterday. Yep, he pushed his chair up to the refrigerator and then climbed on top of the armrest to...get his own food? see what the world looks like from that height? turn me into a nervous "you are going to fall and bust your head" wreck? Bingo!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I know that having a baby changes your relationship with your significant other. I know that there is a transition period where things get pretty hectic and with time things can get back to a new normal. Well, lately I've been feeling like I'm losing my physical closeness with my husband. The other day, I hugged him and noticed that his scent, awash with my favorite cologne, was somewhat foreign to me. I couldn't remember the last time we held hands. Or, how many times I've come home in the past week and immediately hugged, kissed and cuddled with my son all the while not even making eye contact with his father. So, in typical female style, I went into a panic and had a sudden need to "fix" the situation before we end up filing for child custody at our divorce proceedings. For me, us not holding hands meant we were headed for trouble. Ok, I'm being a little extreme but I feel strongly that we have to jump on these things immediately. When I mentioned this to my husband he of course thought it was no big deal and that we weren't holding hands as much anymore because someone has to push the stroller. Duh!

To his credit, he knows me well and despite not entirely agreeing with me, he took some time off work and took us to Monterey to spend some quality time together. It was exactly what I needed to come down off of the mountain that I had made from my molehill. (Note: I work during the day and my husband works during the evenings. I am off on weekends and he is not. You get the picture.) While it wasn't exactly alone time, it was all that I needed to reconnect...until my next "blow things way out of proportion" moment.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

At the Park

Now that the weather is getting nicer or is at least toying with us by providing a few days of sunshine, we head to the park whenever possible. I thrive off of sunlight so my energy level has been better than ever thanks to Daylight Savings. The Bay Area is filled with "toddler parks." Yep, I never knew there was such a thing. I thought parks were parks and that's where kids of all ages go to play. Silly Mommy.

Toddlers need parks that are enclosed and swings that wrap around them like a chastity belt. Oh, and those big kids won't crush you when they run by with play swords in their hands. They are "play swords," right? To top it off, most of these parks have toddler toys left behind by very kind people so that your little one will have a pail, shovel and tricycle to play with when they arrive. TRICYCLE!?!